“Asia’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ republic? The rising body count of the Philippines’ ‘war on drugs.’”
So goes a news article from The Conversation.
ABS-CBN News puts the “number of drug-related fatalities” from May 10 to August 10, 2016 at 943. Of these, 567 in police operations, 294 by unidentified gunmen, and 567 as “salvage” victims.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia Deputy Director Phelim Kine calls it “the surge of extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals and drug offenders” in the Philippines.
Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, said in an interview,
“The drug menace must stop … Yet the apparent serial summary executions of alleged street drug users or petty drug lords which appear sudden, too contrived and predictable must also stop.The two are not incompatible.”
In its official statement, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines “applauds the very serious efforts of the present administration to seriously address this grave problem.”
Then, it explains,
“However, we are a nation of laws and not of men and, as such, must never lose sight of the very foundation of our democracy, the idea that the rule of law must prevail. It is at times such as these, when the temptation to take extralegal measures is at its height, that our conviction to abide by this principle must likewise be at its strongest.”
“It must not be forgotten that regardless of whether or not the victim is a drug offender, unjustified killing is murder nonetheless. Likewise, while our law enforcers have every right, and even the duty, to utilize deadly force when necessary to protect themselves and innocent bystanders, the abuse of this authority is equally criminal.”
“The Constitution’s Bill of Rights guarantees the preservation of the people’s natural rights which include personal liberty and security against invasion by the government or any of its branches or instrumentalities. Certainly, in the hierarchy of rights, the Bill of Rights takes precedence over the right of the State to prosecute…”
Finally, Philippine authorities are urged by the 60,000-member, constitutionally-mandated association of Filipino lawyers to “give due attention” to “serious and credible” investigation of the killings and to prosecute wrongdoers “to the full extent of the law.”
In its official statement, HRW Asia says that “a credible and independent inquiry into the alarming increase in police killings is urgently needed, and the findings made public.”
I totally agree. And I plead with professing Christians worldwide. Please pray for the Philippines.
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24)
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” (Zechariah 7:9)
Photo credit: “LAMENTATION: A weeping Jennelyn Olaires hugs partner Michael Siaron, 30, a pedicab driver and alleged drug pusher, who was shot and killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen near Pasay Rotonda on Edsa. He was one of six killed in drug-related incidents in Pasay and Manila yesterday. RAFFY LERMA” www.inquirer.net